Rand Paul Misinformation on Ebola Contagion & Risks
What if you come in contact with someone who has Ebola?
Ebola is “easy to catch” in the sense that you don’t need prolonged contact with infected fluids to pick it up, Fekete said. However, not many people come in contact with these infected fluids. And, the evidence shows some people who do spend time around an infected patient don’t get the virus, either.
“It seems as though even a brief exposure to the virus can lead to a transmission event, as some patients describe one contact event with an ill patient,” Whalen said. “But, on the other side, think of all of the family members of Ebola patients who were exposed in the household of a case, but didn’t develop the disease. We tend not to hear about them, yet they constitute an important part of our understanding the attack rate.”
But Paul’s spokesman, Darling, argued, “The reason why doctors and nurses who come into contact with an infected individual wear 100 percent protection then have to go through a thorough disinfection process, is because it is ‘easy to catch’ from somebody who is showing symptoms.”
That’s not necessarily the case, according to health experts we spoke with.
For one, health care workers are in close contact with infected individuals at their most infectious state and are handling bodily fluids known to carry higher concentrations of the virus. That puts them at greater risk than someone sitting next to a person who is infected, even if that person is showing symptoms.
Further, unlike much more contagious diseases, Ebola causes death in 50 percent of patients. That sparks extra precaution.
“These recommendations arise from the seriousness of the infection, not from the infectivity of the pathogen,” Jones said.
Excerpted from Politifact